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IDOT employee’s impromptu state Capitol photo becomes the 2022 Illinois Highway Map cover

Andrew Bolinger’s chance encounter with the state Capitol was chosen as the cover of the 2022 Illinois Highway Map. He recalled taking some senior photos for a family friend in downtown Springfield in fall 2020 and noticed how the iconic building was framed amid the autumn scenery.

It also helps that he has a degree in graphic design and a huge passion for photography.

“We just happened to walk by the Capitol that day, and I saw the beautiful blue sky and how bright and vibrant the green grass was and the splashes of orange in the trees, so I stopped and took a quick second to take that photo and then continued on,” Bolinger said.

While the Capitol shot was impromptu, he thought it would be great fit for the state map cover after thumbing through the Illinois map archive. What Bolinger discovered was that it had been decades, actually 54 years, since the state Capitol was featured.

“I thought there is nothing that embodies Illinois more than our Capitol building,” Bolinger said.

Bolinger has worked in IDOT’s mailroom for nearly two years following stints at Central Management Services and Healthcare and Family Services. In his current role, he picks up mail from the local postal station before delivering it throughout the agency.

“I am basically your friendly neighborhood mail guy,” Bolinger said. “Every morning I get to go to the post office and pick up the mail, bring it back to the Hanley, sort it and deliver it. Also, since I have the courier designation, I get to go outside the building and drive around to pick up and deliver interoffice mail to other offices within Springfield.”

Coincidentally, while Bolinger’s photo will grace the cover of the map, he’ll also be responsible for distributing it. “Most people know that we deliver and run all the mail as well as send packages through UPS, but what people probably don’t know is that we also send out the state maps,” Bolinger said. “When people or visitor centers call and need state maps sent out to them, they contact the mailroom. So, I think it will be pretty cool that the maps I will be sending out have my photo on them.”